No harm found when nurse anesthetists work without supervision by physicians.
Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) provide anesthesia for 30 million patients per year in the United States, and are allowed to practice without physician supervision in 14 states. This analysis of Medicare data found that complication rates, as measured by the AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators, were similar for patients cared for by CRNAs and anesthesiologists. The authors argue that all states should allow CRNAs to practice independently. The implication of this study—that non-physician clinicians can provide equivalent quality of care—has also been documented in other studies in different settings.